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Nishi-Shinjuku recomendations?

s
So Ho La May 24, 2007 10:13 AM

Hello Chowhound Japan Board!

At the end of June, I will be staying at the Hilton Hotel in Nishi-Shinjuku. I am a bit familiar with the neighborhood, having visited it several times in the past decade.

I know that there are a plethora of good restaurants in and around Shinjuku Station and Nishi-Shinjuku. Would anybody care to recommend their favorite places to me? While I will have two weeks in the area, I would definitely like to try some places that come with a recommendation. Yes, I have read Bento.com, and have noted their recommendations.

I will be visiting a number of places on the Chuo Line – Kichijoji, Koenji, Asagaya, Nakano – any “recommendations” for these places, too?

Pretty much any ‘style’ of food works – from street stall to places not so ‘stuffy’ that they require reservations. What kind of restaurant is it? Approx. cost for two people for lunch / dinner – with / without drinks.

I thank you in advance!

  1. raji212 Jun 2, 2007 03:53 PM

    I lived in Tokyo for years, so I hope for your sake you follow my advice ;-)

    Tsunahachi has some of the best tempura you will have in Japan for the best prices.

    I was in Japan a month ago and went to Torikai in Shinjuku. It will blow you away. Get the course.

    Do not miss Toraji or one of it's siblings. http://www.ebisu-toraji.com/ Consistently great yakiniku and korean food.

    7 Replies
    1. re: raji212
      n
      Nibbs Jul 1, 2007 06:48 AM

      I'm in Shinjuku for 2 nights on business - Today and Thursday 7/5 (I know, I'll be missing fireworks back home). I tried out Tsunahachi Rin in the MyCity department store (is this still called MyCity? The cabbie knew where to go, but he also pointed at the Lumine Est tower, with its big yellow sign, and that's the building I went to).

      Summary: 7th floor, across from the wall of old PCs (see pic here: http://tokyoq.com/weekly_updates/tqoo...) Look for something, anything, called Rin. Then you'll know you are at the right place. I couldn't see Tsunahachi written anywhere. Then again, I don't read Japanese.

      Had the 5000Y price fixe (no english menu - The gist I got was that the 3500Y item was just tempura, whereas the 5000 had sashimi). Sashimi was very good, first uniquely Japanese taste since I got here this afternoon.

      ?? What are those large-ish green leaves that taste a bit like a bitter lemon-basil (that's the best I can come up with)??

      Tempura started coming. Highlights were the fritter that came in a box (fish and ?? - It was rectangular and outstanding) and a little fried baby corn (so simple, but hit me right), Then I had what I'm pretty sure was pork belly in broth. This was outstanding. The clam tempura was OK, as were the asparagus and some kind of small fish. Rice with some small shrimp tempura on it to finish was great, And the miso soup had little tiny clams in the bottom, which was nice.

      Only regret is that I didn't specifially order one of those shrimp that they have swimming around behind the bar (sweet shrimp? I think that's what they're called). I was hoping I'd get one automatically. Foolish. Had they had an English menu, I probably would have been better off. Total with 1 beer - 6078Y.

      Now I need to find some lunch for tomorrow before I take a bus to the Mt Fuji area. So many types of Japanese cuisine, so little time... :

      )

      ~Nibbs

      1. re: Nibbs
        Robb S Jul 1, 2007 09:23 AM

        My City changed their name to Lumine Est awhile back (maybe six months?). I think they decided it wasn't confusing enough with only two Lumine branches at Shinjuku station so they wanted to add a third.

        1. re: Nibbs
          raji212 Jul 2, 2007 09:27 AM

          the leaf - Shiso I believe

          1. re: raji212
            m
            mickster Jul 3, 2007 11:12 AM

            Yes, Shiso. It is nice to wrap the leaf around a piece of Sashimi with Wasabi and dip in soy before eating. Heavier fish such as Tuna or Salmon go great.

            Thanks!

            Michael

          2. re: Nibbs
            raji212 Jul 2, 2007 04:05 PM

            Glad you got to tsunahachi - that place is tops - now get yourself to Torikai, you're going to love it!!!!

            1. re: raji212
              n
              Nibbs Jul 3, 2007 03:21 PM

              Well, I'm stuck in the Fuji area for the time being. And I don't think I'll be in the Shinjuku area around dinner time before I head back to the US. So Torikai may have to wait. But for the benefit of the board, can someone post where is it/what is it? I can't seem to get any results from searching the web or the boards here.

              I may get to go to a sushi spot by the fishmarket on my way back - If so, I'll post the experience. Nothing special to report on the food I've had here in the Fuji highlands area (although I did have horse sashimi yesterday at lunch - that was a first). ~Nibbs

              1. re: Nibbs
                Robb S Jul 5, 2007 11:49 PM

                I'm guessing Torikai is this place: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/b746400/
                although I haven't been there myself.

                Shinjuku 3-11-28, 6F
                03-5369-4977
                5-11:30pm

        2. t
          taryn May 29, 2007 05:52 PM

          Right across from the tennis courts at Tokyo opera city, which is in nishi-shinjuku 4 chome, on suido-dori, very close to the crossing of suido and yamate-dori, there is a tiny yakiniku place that I went to this past weekend. It was very cheap and the harami (meat around the diaphragm?) was excellent! pretty cheap and some of the nicest yakiniku I've had in a long time. It's probably about a 15-20 minute walk from the Hilton I'm guessing. I live in nishi-shinjuku and generally leave the area for good eats, so I don't have many recommendations. There is a small street that has many small restaurants on it, and some of them look great, but I have not had much of a chance to visit them. The street is called fudo-dori and here is a link to an Italian place that I always walk past. Have no idea if it's good but I've been meaning to try it. In any case, the link is useful for the map http://r.gnavi.co.jp/fl/en/g521100/ the yellow road is suido dori and the green is yamate dori. You can see the tennis courts as well, to find the yakiniku place.

          1. s
            So Ho La May 29, 2007 08:54 AM

            I tried the 'asku' link, but...could not read the Japanese. Looks good.

            >Korean stalls in Ogikubo
            I think you mean Okubo...

            Thanks for the posts thus far.

            1. t
              tokyorosa May 25, 2007 12:16 AM

              Near Shinjuku station is a really wonderful bar/restaurant called Den Aquaroom (http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g045629/). The interior is gorgeous. It bills itself as fine dining, and it is upscale but not stuffy. I can't give you an idea for the cost for two though. A group of us did a nomihodai with food for about 6,000 each.

              Definitely go for Korea town barbeque near Shinjuku or Takodanababa sta. From there, it's an easy hop to drink in Shinjuku Ni-chome. (I recommend Arty-Farty for that.)

              If you're around I-land Tower, there's a nice Indian restaurant (the name of which I cannot remember) on the opposite side of the street from the Tower. Lunch specials run about 800-1,000 per person. Good naan and tandoori chicken.

              Sorry I don't have more for you. I do feel similarly to the above poster. If I was in Nishi-Shinjuku, it was usually under duress.

              Now if you had wanted to hear about Ginza...

              3 Replies
              1. re: tokyorosa
                e
                Ernie May 26, 2007 11:28 AM

                Arty-Farty in Shinjuku Ni-chome is a good recommendation for drinks, fun small bar

                1. re: tokyorosa
                  s
                  So Ho La May 30, 2007 07:42 AM

                  I would love to hear your recommendations for Ginza...or wherever else you would care to suggest. I have been visiting Tokyo for over a decade, and can find *most* places. Salut, RK = So Ho La

                  1. re: So Ho La
                    e
                    Ernie May 30, 2007 09:22 AM

                    I enjoyed wonderful tempura lunch recently at Tenmaru in Ginza. It is a small tempura bar at the basement level of the Kurosawa building

                    Tenmaru
                    B1F Kurosawa Bldg
                    6-9-2 Ginza Chuo-ku
                    03-3289-1010

                2. Silverjay May 24, 2007 08:10 PM

                  Maybe one night in one of the classy high-rise izakaya is ok or you can try Robb S. makkoli bar rec from this board, but I would get out of Nishi-Shinjuku and head to the east side, Kabukicho, 2-chome, and other parts of Shinjuku. Nishi-Shinjuku isn't really a dining destination and it's one of the most sterile, uninteresting parts of the whole city. If you want street food, you can head over to the Korean stalls in Ogikubo which is walking distance from Shinjuku station. Even better is to hop two express stops on the Odakyu Line to Shimo-kitazawa, one of the best areas in Tokyo. Lots of great places to eat, snack, and drink....I don't know anything specific about it, but Nakano is supposed to have all kinds of good places. I recommend you consult Asku.com. Here's the Nakano top list- http://www.asku.com/KK/120R/?area_id=... .

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Silverjay
                    t
                    taryn May 24, 2007 11:49 PM

                    i recently went to the makkoli bar for the second time and i have to say i was really disappointed. the waitress grilling our pork at the table cooked it on a stone that wasn't really warm enough and cooked it for less that one minute per side (these pieces were quite thick - maybe 1/2 inch). it was cold in the inside and completely undercooked, basically raw. my japanese is not that great but i told her that i typically eat pork a little more cooked and she explained that this type (the first cut offered) was more delicious served rare. well i really like most things raw, but what i love about pork is the charred fat bits, and eating cold pork fat blobs in bloody juice just wasn't really that tasty. if it was seared and caramely in on the outside and the inside was pink, i would have been fine with it.. anyway, at the risk of being rude we put the meat back on the stone cooking surface and let it brown up a bit, but over all, the experience was really disappointing. the makkoli (we tried the kuromame type) was super thick and delicious though. has anyone had a similar experience, or know anything about eating certain cuts raw as opposed to cooking them? it seemed a little oxymoronic to order meat to be grilled and then to serve it ungrilled? also, we ordered the same meat sampler at my first trip there and didn't have the same experience...?

                    1. re: taryn
                      steamer May 27, 2007 08:43 AM

                      Yes I had a like experience on my first visit, it was jam packed and the waiter threw a nasty piece of brined meat, kalbi if I recall, on the nearly cold grill. it was ugly. The next time I went back with Robb and ordered the meat sampler and a guts sampler and the stone was properly heated before the meat was grilled and everything was delicious. Guess you just have take matters in hand and tell them to slow down and heat the grill before they put the meat on.

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